October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to recognize both CIP’s Employment Department and the people we serve who work in the community. National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many individual stories of fulfilling work done by the people we serve.
When we look at statistics, 75% of people we serve through CIP Employment Services are employed, compared to a statewide rate of 17%, according to the 2015 Arc report to the legislature. Through CIP, people with disabilities work an average of 22 hours per week, with an average wage of $9.44 per hour.
Even with these good results, there is more we can do to support people so that they can achieve their employment goals. I’m encouraged by the recent push in Minnesota for more competitive and integratedemployment for people who have disabilities, beginning with counseling for people who currently receive employment services with subminimum wages. At CIP, we fully support people with disabilities working in their communities, and employment services will be a focus of our three-year strategic plan.
For information about ways to support National Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit www.dol.gov/ndeam. Ideas range from the simple, such as putting up a poster, to the comprehensive, such as sharing opportunities for education about disability employment with community members. They all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce in which every person is recognized for their abilities — every day and every month.